Caring for an Ash Tree
The ash tree makes an excellent shade tree for yards and parks. They grow in various soils provided the medium is sufficiently moist. The shallow root system extends widely and can provide considerable competition for nearby plants. It is best to plant the saplings in the spring or early fall. This will give the tree adequate time to grow comfortably before the harsh winter weather sets in. The tree establishes fairly easily as long as you give it basic care. Following is a guide on how to care for your ash tree.
While still young, ashes requires plenty of water. This helps the roots to establish themselves well. You also need to give the tree water in the late fall just before the ground freezes for winter. This will help prevent the tree from getting dehydrated during the winter. Avoid giving excessive water as it will create breathing difficulties for the shallow roots. Ashes do not require frequent watering once well-established. However, be sure to give the tree water during periods of drought or unreliable rainfall. Water the tree once weekly.
Give the tree fertilizer once a year, preferably in the fall. A slow-release granular fertilizer is of greatest benefit to your tree. Sprinkle onto the ground around the tree base. Do not let the fertilizer come into contact with the trunk. It may encourage infections. It is not necessary to give the tree fertilizer during the first season of growth.
Maintain a regular cover of mulch in the summer and winter. This will help maintain moist soils and control weeds. It is best to use organic material such as chopped leaves, sawdust or pine needles. Organic mulch will boost the soil nutritional value as the mulch decomposes. Spread about 4 inches of mulch around the tree base. Be sure to leave adequate space around the tree for proper air circulation. It will also prevent rodents from coming to nestle in the mulch and feed on the stem. Frost heaving is a likely winter problem for the ash tree with its shallow rooting system. Be sure to apply mulch immediately after the first hard freezing of the ground occurs. This will help to manage soil temperature fluctuations.
You need not prune your ash regularly as the tree does not extend extensively across. The tree can however grow to considerable heights so you may want to control the height. Otherwise, it is a good idea to inspect the tree often for any dead, broken or diseased branches. Remove these as they occur to allow newer growth to emerge. It will also enhance the health of your tree.
Cold winter winds can dehydrate your ash tree as they draw moisture from the soil and foliage. It is best to provide some protection from the harsh winds for your tree. Wrap some natural burlap loosely around the tree. Make sure you create holes at the bottm and top to enable air circulation. Never use plastic wrapping for your trees. It hinders healthy air circulation and encourages humidity.